Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays have joined forces with international educational organisation WE Charity for a new scheme designed to encourage young people to take up STEM careers.
The three-year "Passport to Change" programme will use WE’s science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) resources and aim to increase students’ problem solving, critical thinking, planning and leadership skills.
Passport to Change will initially launch in Thomas Bennett Community College in Crawley, Pentrehafod School in Swansea, and Luther J Price Middle School in Atlanta, US, with the aim of reaching more than 1,000 students by the end of 2022.
The ultimate aim is to roll out the scheme internationally to all the communities Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic service, and is part of a wider initiative at the company to encourage more women and young people to pursue STEM careers.
Virgin’s staff will be part of the programme and help deliver career talks, workshops and one-to-one mentoring, the company said.
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said: “There is a global shortage of STEM skills and we want to help young people build the skills they need for the future while increasing their engagement with these core subjects. In time, we aim to bring Passport to Change to all the communities we work in and fly to.”
Formerly known as Free The Children, WE was founded in 1995 by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger.
Marc Kielburger said: “Although we’ve been partners for a decade, this is the start of a new beginning for WE and Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.
"It’s thanks to Virgin’s support that we could bring WE Schools to the UK, now active in over 3,000 UK schools. As well as having a huge impact on the students involved, Passport to Change exemplifies how a charity and corporate partner can truly collaborate to evolve their relationship."